Police, health, and human services officials joined Minister Danielle Larivee on tonight’s on-line town hall.
Alberta Emergency Management Agency Executive Director of Operations Scott Long detailed some of what firefighters are doing to combat the fire in Fort McMurray.
He says firefighters are establishing fireguards to secure the industrial facilities in the north.
He added winds should be switching back to southwest tomorrow to clear out some of the smoke while expecting the fire to continue to challenge firefighters until the weather offers up some rain.
He says crews are working 24/7 to get Fort McMurray ready for re-entry.
When can we go home? Minister of Municipal Affairs Danielle Larivee says that’s the question for most people, but adds massive amount of work needs to be done before residents may return.
Larivee says hot spots linger and flare up so they must be all put out.
She says 11 safety code officers are in Fort McMurray right now with 10 more to come tomorrow to complete safety assessments of homes and buildings.
Larivee says utilities such as electricity, water, and gas all need to be completed and the hospital still needs cleaning. She says 400 restoration staff will be on hand as of tomorrow to work on HVAC and other systems.
Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta Dr. Karen Grimsrud highlighted the availability of mental health resources for anyone needing or wanting them. She says the evacuation is stressful and overwhelming and if anyone is feeling the effects to call 1-877-303- 2642 or Health Links at 811. Grimsrud says there is also help available at evacuation centres and the province is working on a long term plan for support for evacuees and first responders.
Critical part of re-entry plan, working as quickly as possible.
Deputy Minister Alberta Human Services David Morehart is encouraging those who haven’t registered with the Red Cross to do so. He added they are looking at opening more distribution centres for the government issued debit cards as well as distributing the cards more broadly in the weeks to come. Morehart says for those who can’t get to a distribution centre to call 310-4455.
The entire town hall can be heard through this link.